The Nationals have won all three of those games, and they have scored 25 runs in total. In the 67 previous innings, they had scored 16. Three games, we all know, is meaningless as far as sample sizes go. So it would not seem that, with his relatively minor contributions over such a short span, you would not be able to correlate his return to the Nationals’ sweep of the Cardinals.

But his teammates can.

“It’s noticeably different,” outfielder Laynce Nix said. “It’s another big bat in our lineup, which we really need. Just is presence is going to help us stay stronger throughout our lineup.”

Said starter John Lannan: “He’s our franchise player. He’s been here longest. He just brings something to the team that you really can’t describe. Him being out there means a lot to us.”


His importance to the Nationals, though, extends beyond his substantial ability. The Nationals say they just feel more at ease knowing their best player is around.

“It really is hard to define,” Manager Jim Riggleman said. “Every player is going up there, battling 60 feet, 6 inches away, himself. It’s just, I think, comforting to know we’re getting closer to having all our weapons out there. He’s just a great ballplayer. It’s just uplifting for the ballclub to know he’s in there.”

There is this, not that it’s statistically significant: the Nats are now 6-5 in games Zimmerman plays.

FROM THE POST

The Nationals extended their winning streak to six with a 7-4 walk-off win over the Cardinals, finishing off a sweep.

NATS MINOR LEAGUES

Syracuse 3, Charlotte 2: Corey Brown went 2 for 4 with a double. Gregor Blanco went 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. Brad Meyers allowed two runs in seven innings on seven hits and one walk, striking out four.

Harrisburg 3, Trenton 2: Stephen Lombardozzi went 2 for 4 with a walk. Derek Norris went 1 for 4 with a double. Rafael Martin pitched a perfect inning and struck out one for the save.

Salem 10, Potomac 3: Jeff Kobernus went 3 for 4 with a home run. Eury Perez went 1 for 4.

Delmarva 6, Hagerstown 5 (Game 1): Bryce Harper went 0 for 4 with a walk and two strikeouts. A.J. Cole allowed two earned runs in 5 2/3 innings on five hits and two walks, striking out nine. Blake Kelso went 2 for 5. Brett Newsome went 3 for 4 with two doubles. Randolph Oduber went 3 for 4.

Delmarva 4, Hagerstown 0 (Game 2): Bryce Harper went 0 for 3. David Freitas went 2 for 3 with a double.